Status Report

NASA AMASE 2008: Day 1: Alan’s Entry

By SpaceRef Editor
August 11, 2008
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NASA AMASE 2008: Day 1: Alan’s Entry

August 4, 2008 / Written by: Alan

The Volcano team was composed of: Dave Blake (inventor of the CheMin X-ray Diffraction device, and Principal Investigator of the CheMin instrument on NASA’s Mars Science Lab Rover), Allan Treiman (an itinerant geologist, mineralogist, and mal vivant, who claims he was tricked into coming on AMASE08), and Ivar Midtkandl (a sedimentologist and mineralogist, as well as an experienced Arctic expedition veteran – soon heading to a post-doctoral position in Australia – Ivar is exactly who you would want with you in a crisis or an emergency, clearly can handle anything).

The CheMin team is making great progress on a study of the weathering of olivine – a mineral common in the Sverrefjell rocks and on Mars (which is our rationale for being here. We have collected a series of olivine rich rocks up the SE side of Sverefjellet, and have preliminary mineralogic inventories of about half of them. They contain several sorts of clays and other layer silicates. The rocks farther up the slope appear less weathered, and appear to contain less of the clay-like minerals.

The cold, fog, and snow have frustrated (so far) our other goals: a search for more carbonate mineral veinlets on Sverrefjellet, and a systematic survey of the mineralogy of the basalts. The carbonate minerals are likely analogs to deposits of Martian groundwater or hot-spring water, and the systematic survey is a crucial part of understanding just how the volcano formed. Our current working hypothesis is that it erupted underneath glacial ice, as several kinds of Martian volcanos may have formed. But so far, we wait for the snow to melt.

SpaceRef staff editor.